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Atlanta BeltLine Development Projects Win Supreme Court Ruling

On June 3, The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of school tax revenue to fund development projects, including the Atlanta BeltLine, is constitutional.

“The City of Atlanta is pleased with today’s unanimous ruling of the Georgia Supreme Court in Sherman v. City of Atlanta, which confirms the lawful use of school taxes in tax allocation districts,” said Atlanta City Attorney Cathy Hampton.

In 2008, Georgia citizens ratified a Constitutional amendment to allow use of school taxes to fund redevelopment, and in 2009, the General Assembly enacted a new Redevelopment Powers Law to implement the citizens’ constitutional mandate. The referendum and resulting legislation were supported by ABR, ACBR, and the Georgia Association of REALTORS®.

“Today’s ruling is a significant victory not only for the city, but for jurisdictions statewide. It clarifies the legality of redevelopment projects throughout Georgia and allows other jurisdictions to continue using these important redevelopment funding tools to create new jobs and economic opportunities,” said Hampton.
Reported by the Atlanta Board of Realtors

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REALTORS® Prevail in Property Rights Battle

Atlanta SealAtlanta REALTORS® won a major public policy victory on June 3 when the Atlanta City Council rejected a proposal that would have allowed government to rescind protections for grandfathered uses rendered nonconforming by a rezoning, with no regard for compensation to the business owner, property owner, or landlord. REALTORS® lobbied heavily against the proposal, arguing that such a move would be a violation of property rights.

The proposal consisted of two ordinances sponsored by District 6 Councilmember Alex Wan. They originally applied to all uses rendered nonconforming by a 2005 rezoning of the north and south portions of Cheshire Bridge Road. Through a process known as “amortization,” those properties and businesses would have been required to cease operations or relocate within two years.

The ordinances were later amended to apply solely to adult businesses. Atlanta’s Zoning Review Board recommended denial of the legislation, but the Council’s Zoning Committee narrowly approved a favorable recommendation.

Atlanta REALTORS® argued that the targeted use was immaterial to the broader property rights concern: This legislation would set a dangerous precedent for the use of amortization against other types of nonconforming uses in other districts throughout the city, region, and state.
Reported by the Atlanta Board of Realtors.

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Housing and Economic Forecast Points to Rising Activity

The following is a great post I received in one of many emails that keep me updated as to the market activity. This one states well exactly what I am seeing. Let’s believe that this will be a tremendous recovery year!

Home sales are expected to stay on an uptrend through 2012, although the performance will be uneven with mortgage constraints weighing on the market, according to experts at a residential real estate forum today at the REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo here. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said existing-home sales have been underperforming by historical standards and will rise gradually but unevenly. “If we just hold at the first-quarter sales pace of 5.1 million, sales this year would rise 4 percent, but the remainder of the year looks better,” Yun said. “We expect 5.3 million existing-home sales this year, up from 4.9 million in 2010, with additional gains in 2012 to about 5.6 million — that’s a sustainable level given the size of our population.” Mortgage interest rates should rise gradually to 5.5 percent by the end of the year and average 6.0 percent in 2012 — still relatively affordable by historic standards. “A huge volume of cash sales, supported by the recovery in the stock market, show that smart money is chasing real estate. This implies that there could be a sizeable pent-up demand if mortgages become more readily accessible for qualified buyers,” Yun said. “The problem isn’t with interest rates, but with the continuation of unnecessarily tight credit standards that are keeping many creditworthy buyers from getting a loan despite extraordinarily low default rates over the past two years.” Yun said that if credit requirements returned to normal, safe standards, home sales would be 15 to 20 percent higher. He added that some parents are buying homes with cash for their children, and offering them loans which provide better returns than bank accounts or CDs. Yun projects the Gross Domestic Product to grow 2.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2012, adding 1.5 million to 2 million jobs yearly over the next two years. The unemployment rate should decline to 8.8 percent by the end of 2011 and average 8.6 percent next year, returning to a normal level of 6 percent around 2015. Housing starts are forecast to rise but remain below long-term trends, reaching 603,000 in 2011, up from 595,000 last year, and continue growing to 908,000 in 2012. New-home sales are seen at a record low 320,000 this year, rising to 487,000 in 2012. “A recovery in new homes will be slow because of the extra price discount in the existing home market,” Yun noted. In March, the typical new single-family home cost $53,300 more than an existing home. Inflation appears to be relatively modest for now, with the Consumer Price Index rising 2.9 percent this year. “We’ll be closely watching the impact of fuel costs on consumer spending and inflation — that would slow economic growth, job creation and home sales,” Yun said. Apartment rents are trending up, and are likely to rise at faster rates as vacancies decline. Following the correction in home prices, it has now become more affordable to buy in most of the country. “Twice as many renters had enough income to buy a home in 2010 in comparison with 2005, so we have a much larger pool of financially qualified renters,” Yun said. “Rising rents and excellent housing affordability conditions will encourage potential buyers who’ve been on the sidelines.” Yun expects the median existing-home price to remain near $170,000 over the next two years, which would mark four consecutive years of essentially no meaningful price change. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, holds similar views on the outlook. “Economic activity will accelerate this year — there will be no double dip in the economy,” he said. Nothaft is more optimistic on job growth, expecting 2.0 million to 2.5 million jobs created in 2011 with unemployment dropping to 8.4 percent by the end of the year. Nothaft expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to trend up to 5.25 percent by the end of the year, and for home sales to rise 5 percent. “National home price indices are close to a bottom and prices are likely to bottom sometime this year,” he said. Refinancing activity in 2011 will be only half of what it was last year. “As a result, banks may become more willing to lend to home buyers,” Nothaft said. The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.  Courtesy of Realty Times

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Buyers Bypass “Fixer Uppers” Want Move-in Ready

Daily Real Estate News | May 3, 2011 | Share
Buyers Bypass ‘Fixer-Upper,’ Want Move-in Ready
More buyers are shunning “as-is” properties in favor of homes that are in move-in condition, according to real estate professionals and recent surveys.

For example, a Coldwell Banker survey recently found that 87 percent of first-time buyers say they desire a “move-in” ready home.

“This is absolutely the story of this market. It seems buyers will pay a premium, engage in a bidding war, and even overpay just to avoid buying a ‘project’ house,” says Beth Freed of Terrie O’Connor REALTORS® in Ridgewood, N.J.

As such, real estate pros are advising their sellers to fix up their homes for quicker sales. “There is no question homes that have been spruced up for the market sell quicker,” says Kate Conover with RE/MAX in Saddle River, N.J.

That doesn’t mean major, costly renovations that sellers won’t likely get back on the sale price either, she says. Instead of a major kitchen or bath renovation, just repainting the home or removing the clutter can go a long way in freshening up a home. Also, don’t forget about curb appeal: Freshen up the flowerpots, trim the bushes, and paint the front door, if it’s starting to show wear and tear.

Also with buyers wanting “move-in” ready homes, real estate pros say it’s crucial that sellers address any major maintenance and safety issues—such as leaky roofs—before the home even goes on the market.

Source: “Home Buyers Shun ‘Fixer-Uppers,” RISMedia (May 2, 2011)

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A Steal of a Deal – House for Sale in Johns Creek , Northview HS!

This  Brick and Frame foreclosure is an unbelievably great deal for Johns Creek!  Home is one of the most desirable floor plans, 3000 + sf, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, valulted Family Room, huge kitchen, built-in bookcases on either side,of the fireplace, fenced yard and so much more. This stunning home sold below market in 2007 for $309,000 due to relocation . Average price for this floorplan at that time was easily in mid 300’s. Initial bank offering  in late 2010 was $282k now at $214k ……Run!   Don’t Walk!    This home is located in a fabulous  swim/tennis community and in the highly desirable , top performing Northview high school district!  Call me for an appointment to see: 404-216-0884.

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Crooked Creek Country Club Sales Activity 9/1/10 to 2/25/11

Crooked Creek is a Swim & Tennis community built around a private golf club and located in Milton, Georgia in North Fulton County. The community is home to over 640 families and the largest community in Milton. Crooked Creek exudes the quiet Milton lifestyle and some of the best schools in Atlanta-metro with access to all the best of North Fulton. Located conveniently within 10 minutes from downtown Alpharetta, the fabulous new Verizon Amphitheater at Encore Park, the new high-end Prospect Park retail development, multiple parks, athletics facilities and GA 400 makes it an idyllic place to call home.

There are currently 37 homes for sale, 3 pending sale, and 14 that have sold since september 1, 2010.

Of the 37 currently available for sale, the highest price is $995,000 and the lowest price is $349,000.

Of the homes sold since 9/1/10, the highest sold price was $665,000 and the lowest sold price was $354,000.

Average list price for this period was $532, 892

Average Sales price for this period was $474,278

Average Days on Market: 101 days.

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